tv PBS News Hour PBS January 8, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
. >> woodruff: ray suarez looks into china's current crackdown on the internet and on its own news media, which is drawing protests. >> ifill: and we remember pulitzer prize-winning journalist richard ben cramer, whose work spanned presidential politics and the lives of superstar athletes. that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: saving for the heart. you'll be able to get close to iconic landmarks. to cultural places. it's a feeling that you can only get. these are journeys that change your perspective on the world viking river cruises, explore the world
>> bnsf railway. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the renewed concern over mass shootings in the united states-- and how to prevent them-- was highlighted today in events ranging from an anniversary appeal to a colorado court hearing. the day began with solemn remembrance of an attack that left a lawmaker gravely wounded. . bells tolled across tucson,
arizona, this morning in ceremonies broadcast on local t.v. the ringing two years to the day after a gunman opened fire at an outdoor political event for then congresswoman gabrielle giffords six people were killed and gabrielle giffords was shot in the head. she later left congress to focus on her recovery. the gunman, jared lee loughner, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. now, in the wake of the latest mass shooting in newtown, connecticut, giffords and her husband, mark kelly, have opened a new campaign against gun violence. they appeared today in an interview with diane sawyer of abc news. >> i have a gun. gabby and i are both gun owners. we are strong supporters of the second amendment. but we've got to do something to keep the guns from getting in the wrong hands. >> woodruff: the couple spoke of visiting newtown last friday
where 20 children and six adults died at sandy hook elementary school. >> it brought back a lot of memories about what that was like for us some two years ago today. and you hope that that -- this kind of thing doesn't happen again. you know what? it does happen again. >> woodruff: and gabrielle giffords made her own one-word appeal. >> when it can happen to children in a classroom, it's time to say -- >> enough. >> woodruff: kelly and giffords also announced in "u.s.a. today" that they're launching a political action committee-- americans for responsible solutions. they said they will raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby and will line up squarely behind leaders who will stand up for what's right. to date, the pair complained, congress has done nothing at all despite the string of mass killings. but since newtown, president obama has commissioned vice president biden and an
administration task force to find a way forward. biden is meeting this week with various groups, including a representative of the national rifle association. presidential spokesman jay carney. >> the n.r.a. has certainly been one of the many groups invited. i would leave it to those groups themselves to decide whether to say whether -- to make any comment on their attendance in those meetings. >> reporter: the task force's proposals are due back to the president by the end of next week. after that -- >> the president will decide what he would like to pursue, what he believes is the right course of action. in addition to what he has already called on congress to do which is pass the assault weapons ban, pass legislation that would ban high capacity magazines, pass a bill that would close loopholes in our background check system. >> reporter: meanwhile, in centennial, colorado, this was day two of a preliminary hearing for james holmes who allegedly
killed 12 people inside a movie theater last july. as the week-long proceedings opened on monday, relatives of the victims said they were looking for clarity. >> there's no way to understand this. there's no understanding it. but we'd like to at least want to know what happens. >> reporter: holmes is charged with more than 160 counts, including murder and attempted murder. the hearing will formally determine whether the case is strong enough to go to trial. for more on the hearings we turn to megan verlee. i spoke with her earlier today. megan, thank you very much for talking with us. first of all, tell us about the testimony you've been hearing so far today. >> well, today was devoted to two things. the first thing we heard in the morning were two 911 calls that came in at the very beginning of the attack. the first caller -- it was in fact the first call to 911, you
can't hear the man who's called in, you juster that dispatcher saying "what's your address, what's your address? i can't hear you. and in the background pretty much constant loud gunfire. the police officers that investigated the tape said he counted more than 30 shots in the 27 seconds of that call. the second 911 call we heard was a very disturbing piece of tape from a 13-year-old girl who had gone to the movie with her cousins. she called in, reported they'd both been shot, one wasn't breathing. the dispatch tried to take her through c.p.r., it was so loud she couldn't hear the instructions. the person that she was working on, the person who she was with, was veronica moser sullivan, the six-year-old who died in the theater. that was chilling testimony this morning, hard on some of the people in the courtroom to listen to, the victims and their families who were there. from that we went into a detailed description of the explosives found in james holmes' apartment, how they were rigged up and what they were
made of. >> woodruff: megan, we know james holmes is in the courtroom. what is he doing during all this and what are his defense attorneys saying? >> well, since i've been able to see him holmes has been very unresponsive. sits and listens to this, he doesn't seem to be moving much. i'm not in a position to see his facial expression but he appears to be sitting still through all of it. his defense attorneys have taken the opportunity that they can to try and lay the suggestion of the insanity defense that everyone expects them to plead down the road. today there was a moment -- there was an alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives agent who gave a timeline of all of holmes weaponry purchases, alleged purchases of ammunition and firearms and ballistic gear. at the end, holmes defense attorney stood up and said "is there any process in the state of colorado that would keep a severely mentally ill person-- and that was her phrase--
severely mentally ill person from purchasing this equipment? and the agent said no. so obviously the defense is going to try to say yes, holmes may have made all these purchases, he may have been at the scene of the attack, he may have had these booby traps in his apartment but that does not mean that he can be held as sane and charged with -- found guilty in this case. >> woodruff: you also mentioned there are family members in the courtroom. how are they dealing with this testimony, both today and yesterday? >> well, mostly they've been very calm and quiet. stoic i think is the word that keeps occurring to me. a lot of them are taking very complex notes but there are moments when the emotion comes through. on the first day of the hearing an officer describes finding veronica moser sullivan's body in the theater and searching for a pulse and there were people crying on the family side. there was a woman who got up and had to leave. the officer himself actually broke down during that testimony. today during the 911 calls you
saw people holding hands in preparations to hear that call. is you saw people crying. at the end of it one woman stood up and kissed the back of the head of the man in front of her. so through it they were mostly quiet and observant but there were moments when the reality of these charges and events hit nerve the courtroom. >> woodruff: it sounds as if it's pretty difficult to listen to a lot of it. tell us a little more about what you heard yesterday. >> so yesterday -- the first day of the preliminary hearings starting out very abruptly. they called a paroleman named oviatt who was the first one to apprehend james holmes. he described a dense situation where he was running toward the back door of the theater with his gun drawn. he saw a man in ballistics gear standing by a car and originally mistook him for law enforcement because of the ballistics gear he was wearing and then realized that unlike everyone else at the scene this man wasn't tense, he wasn't shouting, he wasn't
moving and that's when the sister decided something might be wrong, approached him, realized he was not an officer, ordered him on the ground and proceeded with the arrest. so we heard a lot about holmes' arrest and that he was quite compliant and detached was the description of his state during the arrest. and we also heard descriptions in the theater. one officer said that there was so much blood at the back entrance of the theater that he almost slipped. others described going in and choking on tear gas. holmes allegedly threw a canister of tear gas in the crowd and being deafened by the sound in there. the movie was still running, it was dark, lit by strobe flashes from the emergency lights. there was a clack son going off and there were the screams of the wounded and the ringing of dozens and dozens of cell phones that people dropped when they fled. so the description inside the theater that night was very graphic and very compelling and a big part of the testimony yesterday. >> woodruff: thank you, megan verlee, for talking with us. >> you're very welcome.
glad to do it >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, the release of the lone suspect in the benghazi embassy attack; the boom in online college courses; china clamps down on the internet and the press; and remembering sportswriter and political journalist richard ben cramer. but first, with the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: a u.s. army judge ruled today that the soldier in the wikileaks case was treated too roughly in the first nine months after his arrest. but the judge refused to dismiss the charges against private first class bradley manning. instead, she reduced his potential life sentence by 112 days. manning was arrested in 2010, accused of leaking thousands of classified documents. he was kept in a cell with no windows-- and sometimes, with no clothing-- at a marine corps brig. his court-martial begins in march. the u.s. may not leave any troops in afghanistan for training duties after combat forces leave at the end of 2014. deputy national security adviser ben rhodes said so publicly today. u.s. and afghan officials are at odds over legal immunity for u.s. troops who stay behind.
also today, nato announced an afghan soldier shot and killed a british soldier on monday in helmand province. six other britons were wounded. the u.n.'s world food program warned today that one million people in syria are going hungry, as the country's civil war intensifies. the agency blamed a lack of security and lack of access to a key port for aid shipments. meanwhile, rebels battled government troops across syria today. and fighting erupted again in a palestinian refugee camp in damascus, killing five people. the wildfire threat in southern australia was unrelenting today. the flames have fed off hot, dry conditions, with temperatures hitting 113 degrees in some areas. scores of fires burned in tasmania and new south wales, leaving widespread destruction, but so far no confirmed deaths. we have a report narrated by liam dutton of independent television news. . >> reporter: with no letup, scorching heat and high winds, firefighters spent another day
trying but often failing to keep the flames at bay. more than 100 homes and tens of thousands of acres of farm land have been destroyed in fires which have been out of control aloss large swath of southeast australia. and in several areas, fire crews were forced to pull out because temperatures were too high. >> the weather conditions are such that we can't do any active firefighting at the moment. the winds are too strong. it's just too hot and the fire danger is still far too high. >> reporter: the first week of 2013 has seen seven of the hot test 20 days ever recorded in australia and with the fire risk in some areas being graded catastrophic, the prime minister warned residents to take care. >> it's very important that people keep themselves safe, that they leave them to local authorities and local warns with. this is a very dangerous day. >> reporter: one of the worst hit areas is the island of tasmania. staying safe there, for many, meant abandoning their homes to the flames.
>> i'm in an area where the danger zone is. >> reporter: in the small town of denali, although police believe they were friends and family, with a hundred people remain missing. while the weather is expected to turn cooler tomorrow, fire chiefs warn conditions are still highly dangerous. >> sreenivasan: 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental united states by a lot. the national climatic data center reported today the average temperature topped 55 degrees. that was a full degree more than the previous record, set in 1998. usually, temperature records increase by about one-tenth of a degree. the year was also three degrees warmer than the average for the entire 20th century. unemployment across the euro- zone countries has hit another record high, 11.8%, in november. the european union reported today the jobless rate rose more than a full percentage point from a year earlier. greece had the single biggest year-to-year increase, jumping seven points to 26%.
across the e.u., some 26 million people were out of work. wall street was down again today as the market marked time, waiting for corporate earnings announcements. the dow jones industrial average lost 55 points to close under 13,329. the nasdaq fell seven points to close below 3092. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: we return to the u.s. consulate attack in benghazi, the only known suspect held in connection with the incident was released today in tunisia. his attorney said he was freed because of a lack of evidence. the attack, which killed u.s. ambassador to libya christopher stevens and three other americans was seen by large crowds and captured on security cameras, but the culprits have remained elusive. libyan witnesses have reportedly placed a local leader from the militant group ansar al-sharia, at the scene of the attacks. he survived a vigilante assassination attempt this week and remains at large. for more on the status of the
investigation, i'm joined by nancy yousef of mcclatchy newspapers. welcome nancy. what do we know about this suspect? >> he's a 20 something-year-old tunisian who was arrested last fall. at the time the authorities said that they had strong suspicions that he was involved in the attack. he's been held since that time but not questioned by either the libyans or the f.b.i. the agents didn't allow for this. today surprisingly his lawyer appeared before a judge and said there was insufficient evidence to hold him and he was subsequently released even though members of congress and others have said they believe he was involved in the attack. so it's really raised questions not only about his case but where the investigation broadly stands nearly four months after the attack libyan authorities say that they have had a problem arresting people that while they have suspects they have -- the authorities are afraid to arrest people because of their ties to the militias and so this case
really raises broader questions about the status of the investigation into the attack that killed ambassador stevens and three other americans. >> i want to get to those broader questions but a logistical one first hichlt is it that a tunisian ends up being a suspect and he's being held in tunis for an attack that allegedly occurred in libya. >> according to the investigators we've spoken to there were upwards of 70 people involved in that attack and they were not just libyans, they were tunisians, egyptians, turks, jordanians we've heard and after the attack a lot of them fled to their native countries, many libyans are in hiding. some are openly hiding in libya because they don't fear an immediate arrest. so while this attack happened in benghazi, there were huge militant groups operating within the country and traveling freely into libya. >> ifill: if this is true that there were dozens of suspects,
some of them -- people are keeping an eye on them in different countries, who is in charge of this investigation? >> well, it's a libyan-led investigation but the problem is the libyans who are in charge of the investigation some of them have only been in security operations for a year. and they're not really experienced on how to conduct such a complex investigation. while they're working with the f.b.i. this happened within the jurisdiction of benghazi and therefore the libyans have the authority over the case unless the libyan cans pull the case together it makes it hard for courts in other countries like tunisia to build a case because it hinges on what the libyans are able to pull together in terms of evidence, witnesses and all that has been exceptionally difficult in libya. the police themselves are afraid to arrest militia people who they suspect being involved in the attack and then on top of that you have a crime scene that was looted within minutes of the attack and no real professional
evidence gathering that happened at the time. so all of that makes it very difficult for the libyans to put together a proper investigation such that it will lead to arrests and convictions. not only libya but throughout the arab world where suspects may be hiding. >> it sounds extremely complicated and we saw the president, president obama, in an interview not too long ago say they have a couple of good leads, or several good leads on this. do we have any idea what he meant by that or do you see evidence of that on the ground? >> i think a number of people believe they know who may have been involved in the attack. the problem is they don't have enough experience or evidence or confidence they can make such arrests without facing repraiseals and being attacked themselves. i've talked to libyan officials who say we would arrest these people but the militiamen would release them or perhaps one of
our own men would tell the militiamen who we're about to arrest and they would be thwarted. so it's possible there are leads but not enough evidence and competence in the libyan legal system to actually lead to an arrest and conviction. in benghazi when you travel there's a lot of suspicion about who may be involved. people will point to one another say that person one involved, that person wasn't. but they don't feel comfortable coming forward and giving a statement because their lives at r at risk. the libyan officials who we talked to who looked at the security camera footage said while it captured the attack in realtime the faces are too blurry to make a positive identification. so when you talk to the libyan officials who i spoke to just earlier today they say we're weeks if not months away. we simply don't have an experience to handle a case this complex, this sophisticated and such an unstable state as libya is right now. >> ifill: weeks if not months.
there you go. nancy yousef, mcclatchy newspapers in cairo. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: one of the hottest issues in higher education these days is the recent explosion of free online courses. universities are grappling with their impact on teaching and liberal arts education. newshour corresondent spencer michels has our story. >> mark this with d and in a valueive the term you mark with e. >> reporter: tracy lippincott, who works in a san francisco bar, is taking a college course in her apartment, online, on how to reason and argue. the teacher is walter sinnott- armstrong, professor of ethics at duke university in north carolina, and the class is free. >> so how do you learn the technique? the answer is very simple. you practice, and then you practice again, and then you practice and practice and practice and practice.
this class has these really short little lectures, which is great because you can kind of watch one, and then think about it and react, and then you don't have to watch another whole hour like you would in class. >> reporter: "think again" is a class presented by a one-year- old for-profit startup called coursera, currently the nation's largest provider of free online courses. 170,000 students from around the world have signed up for it. the classes are called moocs, or massive open online courses, and they may be revolutionizing higher education. online learning is nothing new. colleges have been offering classes, usually for a fee-- and for credit-- for years. more than six million americans are taking some type of online courses. but mooc courses are different: they're much bigger, they use new technology, they often feature well-known professors, and they don't cost anything. hundreds of these college-level
course are currently being offered over the internet. more than two million students have enrolled in coursera classes, though the completion rate is low. daphne koller, a computer science professor at stanford, is one of coursera's founders. >> i think by opening up education for free to everyone around the world, they're going to turn education, high-quality education, from a privilege to a basic human right, so that anyone, no matter their social, economic or family circumstances, has access to the best education. >> reporter: those lofty goals-- the experience of teaching thousands of students and the possibility of future profits-- are what got these courses going. professors from top universities are signing up, even though they are not paid by the providers. eventually, universities may share revenues they receive-- when there are revenues-- with the professors. and those star professors have inspired intense student interest in the courses, says
coursera's other co-founder, andrew ng. >> most people today will never have access to a princeton, stanford, cal tech class. but now, if you wake up tomorrow morning and you decide you want to take a cal tech class, you can. you can just sign up for one, and it's free. >> reporter: math teacher salman khan started providing free online classes in 2010 out of his house, arguing that new approaches to teaching were needed. he inspired stanford professor sebastian thrun and colleague peter novick to put a course on artificial intelligence online just last year. >> and to our surprise 160,000 students signed up. we managed to graduate 23,000 students at stanford graduate- level quality in a specialized subject area called artificial intelligence, which means peter and i taught more students than all the professors in the world combined in the same subject area. >> reporter: were you amazed by this, or did you expect it? >> i was blown away, and it
changed my life. >> reporter: after that success, thrun founded udacity, a fast- growing startup in palo alto, financed with venture capital money, offering classes in science, technology, engineering, and math. universities came on board, hoping to reach more students than they previously could, and to improve instruction both on and off campus using online technology. thrun says early results are promising. >> we have some data on how it works. for some of the classes, we've shown that the average point score of students taking those classes online is higher, significantly higher than taking it in the classroom. that's kind of mind-blowing. >> reporter: he says teachers are learning new strategies that are more effective than the traditional lecture. >> it's not my lecturing that changes the student, but it's the student exercise. so our courses feel very much like video games, where you're being bombarded with exercise after exercise. that's very different from the way i teach at stanford, where i'm much more in a lecturing mode. >> reporter: at coursera, ng
says online courses aren't dominated by a few aggressive students in a classroom. >> on the online web site, we have these things we call in- video quizzes, where the video pauses and a question pops up. every single student gets to attempt an answer, not just the one smart kid in the first row. >> every single instructor that has taught a course online has told us that it's changed profoundly the way they teach their on-campus students. >> reporter: the university of california at berkeley has decided to partner with another mooc provider called edx, a not- for-profit in cambridge, massachusetts. computer science professor armando fox, who heads campus online learning, lectures about the beauty and joy of computing. as he talks-- with some visual aids-- his lecture is taped by a technician, who will send it to edx, where it will be posted online, a free class that is identical to what his students at berkeley are receiving.
>> this is an opportunity that i think none of us ever have seen before, where, you know, we can essentially teach the world. we had an e-mail from one student who lived in the gaza strip, and he was apologizing that his homeworks were always late because they only get six hours of electricity per day, and he was using some of that electricity budget to take our course. you know, as an instructor, i think there's no higher compliment than that. >> reporter: with on-campus students watching lectures and basic material online, moocs provide the opportunity to for instructors to use class time for discussions and exercises-- a so-called flipped classroom. as a bonus, fox says, the information students furnish when they take online courses is providing valuable data about learning. >> you know, with thousands of students taking a quiz, as instructors we can now put some science into asking, which are the hardest quiz questions? which questions will tell us who the superstar students might be? >> reporter: mooc startups are still trying to figure out how
to make money. udacity is getting revenue from several companies like google to provide specialized courses. coursera is charging potential employers for providing names of high scoring students. and eventually students may pay for credits transferable to colleges. so far, students can earn only a certificate when they complete a course; almost no colleges are giving credit for moocs-- at least not yet. here at stanford and at other elite universities, undergraduate tuition plus room and board for a year is about $54,000. at berkeley, a public university, it's around $30,000, depending on where you live. the big question is, what do you get for that money that a free online course won't give you? >> i don't think that you can give a stanford education online the same way as i don't think that facebook gives you a social life. >> reporter: susan holmes is a
professor of statistics at stanford. she fears that budget-conscious colleges may use online education to replace instructors and save money. >> people will think it'll be much cheaper to hire people who aren't trained with ph.d's and make the student watch courses and use graduate students, or even undergraduates, as advisors. >> reporter: but even more important, holmes is worried that moocs could damage a key university goal: providing a liberal arts education where students learn to write and express themselves, and that is done with interaction with the students. the professors meet with the students, advise the students, and the students also have their colleagues to talk to, their peers. >> reporter: the difficulty of providing personal contact also
concerns courseras founders, but they think they are addressing it with online study groups among students. >> learning is social, and we learn best when we have classmates to discuss things with. when you teach a class of 100,000 students, what that means is that if there's a student thinking about some topic, no matter what time of day you're thinking about it, there will be someone in some time zone awake and thinking about the same thing as you are. they can discuss it with you. >> reporter: still, the problem of personal contact is getting lots of attention, from students and from teachers. >> we cannot answer e-mails from students, so please do not e- mail us individually. there will be discussion forums. >> the thing that i really miss is actually personal contact with the professor. i'd like to be able to get personalized advice from the person who's in charge, and maybe just a little of like a thumbs up, you know, just a little bit of positive reinforcement. but in terms of like between students, you can create that. >> reporter: in fact, lippincott did create that, by organizing a recent meet-up for students taking the "think again" class,
at a trendy bar in san francisco, where she works. anyone can attend. >> whenever you get into an argument, all you are doing, you are thinking about a rebuttal when the other person is talking. and it's not listening. what i'm trying to do now is actually think not of my argument, but the other people's arguments and say, "okay, you are convincing me, but that's not an argument quite yet." >> i can't wait to just rip apart people i don't agree with. ( laughter ) you know, just let me show you where you are wrong in so many ways. i took a class in this. >> reporter: some students taking mooc classes are doing it just to learn. others hope a certificate will help them get a job. still others want to eventually get college credit. figuring out how to get colleges to accept mooc classes for credit is a major thrust of the fast-growing, constantly changing online teaching industry right now.
>> ifill: on our web site, spencer reports on how online educators monitor cheating. he also spoke with one computer science professor who uses web tools to engage his students. >> woodruff: now, we turn to china, where there were more demonstrations today over government censorship of a newspaper. ray suarez has the story. >> suarez: protests in china turned to scuffles today in the southern city of guangzhou. supporters of the "southern weekly" newspaper, known for its relatively free-wheeling style, faced off with communist party supporters. the showdown has been brewing since new year's day. staffers say sensors force them to run this tribute to the party instead of a planned editorial calling for political reforms. journalists went on strike and drew support from local people
who laid chrysanthemums at the paper's head quarters to symbolize the deaths of free speech. >> ( translated ): this act of suppressing the freedom of the press should be changed. otherwise it's going to be detrimental to the public interests of knowing the facts. >> ( translated ): i'm near say "the southern weekly" is not alone, there are lots of people supporting them. >> reporter: in response, the communist run "global times" newspaper warned no media outlet can occupy a political special zone. but the protests quickly drew support from scholars, celebrities and microblogs across china. late today came reports the local communist party chief has offered to let southern weekly's journalists avoid punishment if they call off the strike. in addition, seine source would lengthen their leash on the paper's content. the dispute is played out as xi jinping is ascending to the leadership of the government and the party amid hope he is might
allow some reforms. despite that, chinese officials have ruled that internet users must give their real names to internet service providers and internet companies in china are under orders to delete and report any posts deemed offenseive to authorities. >> suarez: for more on this we turn to james fallows, national correspondent for the "atlantic" who's written extensively about china. his latest book is "china air born and ming wan was born in beijing, left when he was 25 and he's now a u.s. citizen. professor wan, was there an event, a sparking moment, a reason for the government to both crack down on southern weekly and on the internet or is this more of a just change in approach toward free speech in china? the party congress heightened the control and also the press.
so this is to the continuations of what they have been doing. there particular incident we don't know whether the propaganda office who did all that was instructed to do it or he was taking the -- interpreting the political atmosphere that was the right thing to do. but testimony reason that you see this is because they have experienced censorship and things were getting worse last year. i think people are fed up. >> suarez: james fallows, you've been visiting china over the years. does this reaction to the suppression of the southern weekly surprise you? >> it impresses me. and i think what's significant here is this is the latest manifestation of struggles that have been going on for 30 years since china liberalized and last five or six years when the chinese economy was reaching maturity and the political system has been lagging behind
that the maturity, the economy there have been for four or five years struggles over internet censorship and there was during the time of the arab spring that there was crackdown to avoid the counterpart jasmine protest so the real argument in china is whether the continued development of its economy and its social system will be matched by all the other attributes of a free society and that's the question for china's future, i think. >> suarez: if you had any doubts in covering the protest, one party said the party's control over the media is-- and this is their word-- unshakable. srpl that just the way that showing that it is shakable after all? >> there are subtle differences in the chinese audience as well. people from beijing tend to be more nationalistic the (inaudible) but southern weekly
is known to be more independent and that's part of the reason they became the target of this crackdown and that's also part of the reason that you see people rallying around southern weekly because you see this important voice. the chinese society has become wealthier and more educated and people have alternatives and travel that in that context (inaudible). >> suarez: those people on the street aren't afraid of losing their jobs and their apartment? entertainers with 19, 20, and 30 million followers on the web are supporting the strikers, supporting "southern weekly." in the old day wouldn't they have feeed for their future livelihood? >> sure, during the mao area there was totalitarian control, even 30 years ago there was a lot of control. now i think what impresses most
visitors, including those who, unlike professor wang, weren't born there and are seeing it anew is the range of conditions. some things are very tightly controlled. you can't organize for any kind of activity that might be a challenge to the government. certain kinds of the media are really controlled and other things are wide open. so it's that tension. we see hit in the media, too. some try very hard and they are brave journalist and others are just mouthpieces for the government so that range and diversity have made it something that's often underappreciated in the u.s. >> suarez: but is there a limit to this? we have a new leadership? place. every country in the world that gets richer gets freer. is china trying? are the leaders trying to make it a rich country that we mains less free? >> the government is trying to do that. in fact, with the global recession they argue that the chinese people might be better.
but you have the government themselves are pretty insecure and part of the reason why they are trying to tighten the control is because they feel vulnerable. they know the sosh protests that urban residents and workers and what's interesting about this is that this is so far china's middle-class. educated, wealthy and as one would expect they want to have the right to know. it matters to them. not just freedom of speech. so that's part of what we'll see. essentially you touch off on this but i think it's wider than what we see. it's harder to organize but clearly there's evidence there is widespread sympathy for the southern weekly. >> suarez: because, james, isn't china trying to modernize? trying to expose its people to the world and is there something
con from tra tra dicktory about at the same time trying to control the web which is one of those door ways you open to the rest of the world? >> exactly. i think this is the contradiction of china that affects its future or makes it look fascinating and important. the system has to change for the reasons professor wan was saying. people want to have more mature industries and it has to change. on the other hand, it can't change because there's so many vested interests who have so much to lose and so my hypersuspicious and paranoid figures in the leadership so that contradiction played out and i don't know which side is going to prevail. >> suarez: that's the question, isn't it? and will it tell us something about the new leaders in china where stories like the southern weekly story, how they end. >> yeah and it's a test of new leadership and in particular for the leaderships promise the new party chief is a young rising star and one with a person who keep watching for the next top
leader in china. it seems to indicate that he was negotiating sort of a settlement between the journalists and essentially led them -- let them go back to work without being punished as they agreed to publish on thursday. they're on strike right now. >> suarez: who wins in that case? if they take the ultimatum and go back to work, have they won? >> i think any solution that doesn't involve a crackdown and a step backwards is a step forward. so what we'd like to see, i think what most people in china would like to see and the rest of the sworld a government comfortable enough to allow freer and freer expression in peace with the greater and greater capacity of its people so we'll hope for negotiations away from the brink because a frontal showdown with government pow kerr not turn out well. >> suarez: james fallows, professor wan, thank you both. >> thank you.
>> ifill: next we remember author and journalist james crimer who died yesterday. writing for "esquire", "rolling stone" and two newspapers, cramer excelled at the finely drawn profile, from baseball stars to irish revolutionarys to american politicians and he won the pulitzer prize in 1979 for his coverage of the middle east. his 1992 book "what it takes: the way to the white house" which told the story of six men who ran for president in 1988-- became a gold standard for political journalism. for more on kramer's influence we're joined by jil klein of "time" magazine. joel klein you're a storyteller, too, in much the same way richard ben cramer was. what did his way of telling stories -- how did it inform what you did? >> well, you know, he had such a
wonderful eye for detail. and he was so relentless. he also had the time and space to write in detail and he wrote beautifully. and the thing that i think that most informed my journalism after that year that you spent with them and i spent with them on the bus in 1988 was the kindness and the humanity that he displayed toward politicians. at a time when, you know, the default position for hour business was cynicism, non-stop cynicism, wall-to-wall cynicism, richard realized these were, many of them, amazing people who had run for office who lived incredible lives, who had been challenged and really had a visceral need to do public service. i don't think there's enough of that have in our journalism today. >> ifill: let's talk about that, chris, you are one of the practitioners of new school
journalism, as it were, on social media as well in long form, in books and long form stories in the newspaper and yet you feel like you were as affected by richard ben cramer's model as anyone. >> yeah, gwen. it's fascinating. i had come to politics relatively late in life. i always say i have the zeal of con t converted. i didn't write for my school newspaper in college and after college somebody handed me the book, i was working and kind of fell in the job and someone recommended that book to me. i read it and thought geez, this is what i -- always aattract me to sports and this is a guy writing about the personalities, about who these people were before they became the name in big lights. what formed them, what drove them, what motivated them. it was a kind of journalism i as a 22-year-old never came across or even thought could be done i will tell you i read the book, parts of the book, i still think
the parts of the book on joe biden and bob dole are some of the most moving political journalism done about those two figures who vfd lots and lots written about them ever. i think anyone who cares about journalism should read the whole book but reading the sections in which he talks about bob dole's recovery from his war wounds is just incredibly moving stuff that i think has sort of inspirational to a younger generation of people who saw in richard ben cramer went about it a little differently than many people at the time were doing it >> ifill: joe, i'm holding the book which is very heavy, long-form journalism. is it still alive? yes it's mistakenly called the gold standard for political journalism. it isn't because we don't do that anymore in part we can't. we don't have the budgets to do it and the politicians are a lot more wary of the press than they were. the amazing thing about that
book is it's a thousand pages long. it's incredibly compelling and it's written about the most boring presidential campaign i ever covered. (laughter) >> ifill: chris you went up to pay homage to richard ben crime we are some colleagues of yours. talk about that visit my friend and ben smith who works for because feed, joshua eisenberg at slate fell in love with this book in our early 20s and would occasionally in our various publications write about it a college student at washington college near are richard ben cramer lived saw that and invited us to come out and meet him i wrote about the visit and thought when i first met richard ben cramer i thought he might shoot me and the reason was because we never met the man we were communicating for a college student and we went two and a half hours out to the eastern shore of maryland, we pulled up
and i thought it's probably as likely as he greets with us a shotgun and tells us to get off his property as he does with a hand shake. he invited us in, his girlfriend who later became his wife made us dinner. i went back out about two years later to write a chapter of a book i wrote that richard was very encouraging about to profile him and how he went about -- the chapter of the book is called what it takes to write. how he thought differently about politics. it was just a neat experience for someone like me, something i'll always treasure. i saved the e-mail he wrote to me thanking me for sending him a copy of my book, sent it to my wife, we both saved it. it was a meaningful thing for a political reporter like myself. >> ifill: let me ask this final question. reading and write t writing of richard ben cramer that you think joe could inform young writers and aspiring young political journalists today. >> one of the things i've
learned is cynicism passes for mediocre. we've gotten to the point where writing a positive story about a politician is a tough thing to do, especially for young reporters, and we need to be more humane and balanced and respectful of the people who seek to lead us. >> ifill: chris? >> joe used the word "humane" and i think it's critically important that richard ben cramer understood and joe understands and i think the best of us who do this people like joe, richard ben cramer, yourself, gwen, understand, these people who run for office are human beings. we forget that sometimes. we cover them so much, we write their names, look at them on t.v., we forget there's some basic humanity that is driving them that inspires them that motivates them and finding that what that is and exposing this that for readers may be the most important thing we do so they
can really understand who that name -- that boldfaced name really is. i do everything i can to aspire to it but i think the humanity of these politicians you have to remember. >> ifill: kristof "washington post," joe klein of "time" magazine, two great humane journalists, thank you very much. >> thanks, gwen. >> thank you. >> woodruff: finally tonight, the very public and controversial school reform leader, michelle rhee. her tenure as chancellor of the washington, d.c., public schools was chronicled. reporting and new investigative work by his team are the foundation of tonight's "front line" on rhee and her impact.
here's an excerpt about the chancellor's early efforts to make some big changes to the system quickly. >> reporter: with no time to waste, rhee had been crisscrossing the district, talking about ways to improve the schools. she kept her most controversial proposal under wraps: closing two dozen half-empty schools. schools that were draining the system of resources. >> it would have been extraordinarily unwise of me to have started this process by saying "so, i've going close some schools, what do you think?" i would lose faith immediately in that person you have to have a vision and strategy and methodology and data. then people can react to that once it's laid out. >> reporter: but her proposal was leaked to the "washington post.". the next six weeks were all about damage control as rhee tried to explain the proposed closures to angry parents. >> the bottom line is that we made the proposal-- which was a
proposal-- we wanted to have a number of community forums during which we could hear people's input. a lot of the decisions that i'll be making as long as i'm chancellor are going to raise this kind of opposition for me it's about the fact that if we make these decisions now, what it will result in is greater resources quicker for kids and classrooms and that is way more important than how many nights i have to sit around getting yelled at. >> you can't yank them out of the ground they're in and move them somewhere else and expect that program to work. i'm telling you that you are not being serious about taking parent and community input into account. (applause) >> that's fine. i think that's where we're going to differ in opinion, then. you're welcome to have your
opinion. >> it's a done deal, now i understand the situation. (applause) >> people have said you didn't listen to us. i said no i listened to you. i'm not rung this district by consensus or committee. we're not running this school district through the democratic process. >> it's not a democracy? >> no, it's not a democracy. >> reporter: despite all the tumult, rhee remained calm and closed more than 20 schools. >> my mother said i used to be worried about you when you were a kid because you didn't seem to care what anyone thought about you and i thought you were going to be anti-social and she said it seems like that's serving you well now. >> ifill: front line's "the education of michelle rhee" airs tonight on most pbs stations. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. former arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords ramped up a campaign against gun violence on the anniversary of a mass shooting that killed six people
and left her gravely wounded. authorities in libya released the lone suspect being held in the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi. they cited a lack of evidence. a u.s. army judge ruled private bradley manning was initially treated too harshly after his arrest in the wikileaks case. she reduced his potential life sentence by 112 days. online, how one urban high school plans to lower the achievement gap. hari sreenivasan has the story. >> sreenivasan: the students at mckinley technology high school in washington, d.c., are beating the odds. but that wasn't always the case. see how a science and engineering curriculum helped turn this school around, and participate in a live chat with administrators and experts tomorrow afternoon. details are on our web site. looking for a job in a new town? our "ask the headhunter" series offers simple solutions to expand your network as a newbie. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll look at the arguments before the supreme court on whether police can get
a blood sample from drunk driving suspects. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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washington. wild fires come record high temperatures, and strong wind. they are frantically battling a lethal combination. >> we cannot do any active firefighting. the wind is too strong. it is too hot. >> the white house says it is considering leaving no combat troops in afghanistan after 2014. what happens in vegas does not always stay in vegas. we show you the latest gadgets we hope make it out of the city. welcome to our viewers on public television and around the globe. when you are trying to put out 130 wildfires the last thing you need are strong winds and record high temperatures. that is what firefighters in southeast australia are dealing